Doth The Cubbies Protest Too Much? -- Nationals 5, Cubs 2

The Chicago Cubs matched up against the Washington Nationals in what could have been a great pitcher's duel, but wasn't. Cubs starter Jon Lester was not in his best form, and the Nationals took full advantage.

Stephen Strasburg started on the mound for the Nats and worked a quick 1-2-3 inning. He got leadoff man Kyle Schwarber to ground out, as well as Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo flew out to left field for the third out.

Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon singled for the Nats, but they would not score in the first inning.

The Nats put one up in the second on a solo home run from Brian Dozier. The Cubs didn't respond with any runs of their own, and the inning ended with the score at 1-0.

Three more runs were added for the Nats in the third inning. Trea Turner and Eaton both singled, but Eaton was caught stealing second. Rendon walked, followed by a double from Howie Kendrick, scoring Turner. Juan Soto then doubled, scoring Rendon and Kendrick to bring the score to 4-0.

The Cubs got their first hit off of a single from Schwarber in the fourth, but Bryant grounded into a forceout and Rizzo grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The Cubs finally got a run in the fifth inning after singles from Willson Contreras and Addison Russell. Contreras was out at second when Jason Heyward grounded into a forceout. Heyward came around to score on a passed ball and the Cubs were now trailing 4-1.

Rendon led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and scored on a single from Soto to bring the score to 5-1. Carl Edwards, Jr then replaced Lester to get the final two outs. Lester went 4.1 innings with 10 hits, five runs (all earned), one walk, and three strikeouts. Edwards was able to get a strikeout from Dozier and a lineout from Yan Gomes to end the inning.

David Bote added another run for the Cubs in the sixth with a solo homer, bringing the score to 5-2. Pinch hitter Daniel Descalso grounded out, followed by a strikeout from Schwarber and a groundout from Bryant.

Tyler Chatwood took over for Edwards in the sixth and walked Michael A. Taylor. Strasburg laid down a sacrifice bunt to get Taylor to second. Turner and Eaton then grounded out for the second and third outs.

New Cubs reliever Xavier Cedeño entered the game in the eighth inning and faced Gomes first, who grounded out. He gave up a single to Taylor, who then stole second. Adrián Sánchez pinch hit and struck out looking, but Turner was then intentionally walked and Eaton followed with an unintentional walk. Brad Brach was then called to the mound and got the third out with a strikeout from Rendon.

The ninth inning may have been the most exciting of the night. Sean Doolittle entered to close it out for the Nationals and faced Albert Almora, Jr pinch hitting in the leadoff spot. The game was delayed when Cubs manager Joe Maddon protested Doolittle's pitching motion, in which he tapped his foot down on the mound the same way Edwards was instructed not to. Doolittle was given a few warm up pitches to fix the motion. Once the fuss had passed, Almora lined out to second, Schwarber struck out, and Bryant popped up to end the game.

 

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

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  • I am sick of these national games, even with Len in the booth. Now we got another A-Roid game tonight.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Price to be paid for access to teams in those games. National games provide more revenue to MLB than local games. Watch what happens to costs when the Cubs network airs in 2020.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    I have no issues with playing on Sunday night. Just glad tomorrow is a night game.

  • Bryant finally bounced back *golf claps*

    but heywards #'s took a NOSE DIVE wow just wow.

    Very proud of baez who continues to silence his doubters and a has a strong on base% and takes his walks!

  • In reply to bolla:

    “finally”...? Dudes been on a tear. Where’ve you been?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    A week ago he talked smack on bryant and wanted him traded. He must be following baseball about a month behind schedule.

    And applauding Baez for keeping his OBP high... OBP and AVG are very related, so .364 OBP would be way more impressive and be indicative of taking his walks if his BA was around .290, but not quite at his current .324 BA. Just look at KB’s, .270 and .397 BA and OBP, now there’s someone who’s taking their walks and also comparatively driving more runs in, especially considering he has less than average amount of runners on base while Baez has had more than average amount of runners on base...

    Juan Soto take takes his walks. He’s managed 100 of them already in just over one season of playing in MLB. Baez reluctantly took his 100th career walk just about 3 weeks ago, after about his 550th MLB game. I guess this is the day and age where everybody must get a trophy though... Good job kid [pats on head and ruffles the hair].

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    You're not wrong in stating your case about the high OBP, but Javy is trending, ever so slowly, in the right direction. He's at a MLB career high walk rate right now, and more importantly, taking more non-intentional walks. He had a career-high 30 BB in 2017, but exactly half those were intentional, due largely to taking most of his AB's in front of the pitcher. Nearly a third of his total walks in 2018 (29) were of the intentional variety (8). This year's totals are 12 total with 2 intentional, meaning he has about half his career best total in mid-May.

    Baby steps...

    If he ever got that rate to even league-average (I don't think he will), given his GG play at SS and other aspects of his game, we'd be looking at THE best all-around player in MLB. For now, I'm happy with his graduation into a consistent top-ten, and looking forward to him climbing that ladder.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    You said the cubs should trade baez last off season while his value was high LOLLL. You're a joke and get offended because I criticize the golden boy because he rarely lives up to the lofty hype

    which is why you're so critical of baez , you're see through and it's laughable. Grow up you're probably like 65

  • In reply to bolla:

    Dude...

    Everyone knows you and I both love Javy, But I think our responses to Cubber's critiques in this instance are telling. I'll let the readers decide which method they prefer here at Cubs Den.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    In fairness, there was a swipe at you, bolla. What goes around comes around, I suppose.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I apologize for taking the swipe. It was immature, and probably more indicative of my age, which is very near his. Maybe it makes him feel better to want to think I'm a crotchety old man... But his MO when actually making any sort of comparison between the 2 players is to strip the statistical data down to about 25% of all the available data so that it favors his guy, which actually just proves that the other 75% favors the better offensive player.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I usually skip his posts because they became rambling nonsense being hyper critical of baez which shows a blatant dislike/bias

    I read all the comments today and responded his gimmick is transparent and he’s too old for it.

    Sorry, if baez can be overly criticized so can bryant. Besides calling him old I don’t see what I said that was wrong

    And I’m not gonna post on here like that there’s too much of an age gap for me too much disconnect

  • In reply to bolla:

    I'll stay out of your beef with Cubber, I didn't mean to inject myself that way. But you and I have discussed this topic before, and made positive progress. When you disagree with someone, lay out your case. Cubber is very critical of Javy, but is focused on the lone remaining hole in his game. He and I go back and forth on this topic frequently, and I try to remind him that his criticism is just that, hyper-focusing on the one remaining flaw in his game that keeps him from being "perfect". But we both seem to be pulling for Javy, just with differing perspectives.

    You seem to have a deep-rooted dislike for Bryant, and have made your motivation clear. I'll go no further.

    I don't see how age is a factor in any of this except, frankly, to highlight your immaturity. I just think everyone here benefits with more respectful and informed dialogue.

  • In reply to bolla:

    HAHAHAHAHA.... Why do you gotta say, "you're a joke..."

    You immediately lose it and try to make it all personal. Why resort to attacks/name calling? Why not just have a real discussion and lay out your case as you've never been able to do against the gaudy numbers that KB puts up. Lol... the only reason I ever even said to trade Baez, is because the way the Beaz disciples get all high and mighty while picking on an injured Bryant. I was never serious about trading him, yet at least in my claim to trade him, it was while his stock had never been higher. Yet you want to trade Bryant so badly while his stock is at his lowest... Sorry not even close on age, friend...

    As far as OBP, where's a little schooling from fangraphs. They understand the use of data and measurements in comparing baseball players...

    "On-Base Percentage (OBP) measures the most important thing a batter can do at the plate: not make an out. Since a team only gets 27 outs per game, making outs at a high rate isn’t a good thing — that is, if a team wants to win. Players with high on-base percentages avoid making outs and reach base at a high rate, prolonging games and giving their team more opportunities to score.

    How to Use OBP:

    OBP reads like batting average, but because it incorporates walks, OBPs are about 60 points higher on average. So the equivalent of a .300 hitter should have a .360 OBP or so.

    Getting on base is an important skill, so you want to use OBP to determine if the player in question is a good offensive performer. However, OBP can only take you so far and it should only be used in the context of other statistics because OBP weights every time you reach base equally, whether you hit a home run or an infield single. If used in conjunction with slugging percentage or isolated slugging percentage, OBP is a very useful tool. In general, something like wOBA or wRC+ will tell a more accurate story, but if you’re looking for something extremely simple OBP is a much better bet than batting average."

    https://library.fangraphs.com/offense/obp/

  • In reply to bolla:

    Dude you know I’ve always had good talks with you and am also a huge Javy Baez fan. But KB is in the midst of a tremendous rebound season after an injury plagued year. The guy has lived up to his hype he has a ROY, an MVP in our WS season, 3 6+ WAR seasons and now he’s on pace for another huge season once again in 2019. I understand your criticisms of Q and Schwarber in the past, but don’t really get why you’re still low on KB or why it’s KB vs baez. Our hometown team has 2 young studs heading in their primes that are basically perennial all stars. And maybe even hall of fame talents if KB performs closer to his 2015-16 production when he was healthy, and javy keeps doing what he’s been doing in recent years. At the end of the day every baseball team would drool to get either player so me I’m just happy they’re on our sides.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    You’re right Bryant is a god how I dare I criticize him

    It’s obvious why he’s put on a pedestal and it has nothing to do with his baseball abilities

    That being said to hell with this site

  • In reply to bolla:

    It's not that you criticize him, bolla, but how. You just just clarified your motivations again. I'm white, my favorite player is Puerto Rican, and I'll stand by my statement that the player I personally admire the most on this team for his character and integrity is our African-American RF. Calm down, and come back when you don't see things so, pun intended, black and white. Peace.

  • In reply to bolla:

    You’re entitled to your opinion on the site. I’ve defended you on numerous occasions to others I think posters should be entitled to criticize players. Not everyone is gonna view the team through rose colored glasses and I generally respect your contrarian opinion. But I think your temper tantrums lately are a bit out of hand I know some posters aren’t helping and in part provoked you. But John wanted this site to be a site where viewers can agree and disagree respectfully and I try to be respectful of that. You’re an adult and I can’t tell you how to act, but what’s the benefit getting into it with every person you don’t fully see eye to eye with? Ive enjoyed your contributions to the site last season and no reason to blow up at the whole site over a dispute with a couple of posters. We’ve all been there with someone on this site at one point or another. Let’s just say I don’t really reply or Speak to a couple regular posters after they’ve disrespected my opinion one too many times

    I’ve criticized Bryant before too at one point or another for his clutch hitting at times over the years, his bloated 2017 WAR, and his struggles with RISP in recent seasons. You’ve gone into depth in our talks with some similar issues with him and some of your points were valid, even if I personally don’t think he’s overrated. But most baseball players have some type of flaw in their game. Baseball is a difficult game and you can point to any player and they’ve usually had a down year due to injuries or whatever. Javy Baez today is arguably one of the 5-10 best players in the game. Some of the more metrics based fans like KB better I disagree with that, but the guy does put up good numbers. At the end of the day both guys are likely gonna command contracts in excess of $150-200 million for a reason. It’s bc they’re both highly productive players and the numbers and tape back that up. I personally think baez is the teams mvp but I also think he’s a generational talent. One being Uber talented doesnt diminish the others contributions. Javy is probably my favorite player to watch in the game. But at the same time .280+, .400 OBP, 30 hr, 100 rbi type guys don’t grow on trees. As great as javy is let’s remember that KB was in large part responsible for being a focal point in this offense in 2015-16 before javy truly broke out into being the hall of fame talent that we see today. Both are part of the solution and nowhere near a part of the problem

  • In reply to bolla:

    Don’t mean to sound harsh too I think you’re misunderstood in many ways by some, and some posters are guilty of provoking you instead of having intelligent baseball talks as we’ve had throughout the years. But personally I’ve kinda sensed your frustration with many on the site. I felt you made an effort to be civil throughout the years and that’s why I’ve defended you when others attacked you. My only point is don’t let a dispute with a couple of posters push you into getting contentious with the entire site. At the end of the day we’re all cub fans and we all want to see the team succeed

  • In reply to bolla:

    I honesty don’t get why you wouldn’t wanna just have a civil conversation/debate about baseball and actually use data to support your idea? I guess I can draw a couple conclusions... Either you’re just incapable of being civil, or you just can’t provide the data to back up your strong beliefs.

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    In reply to bolla:

    You need to calm down

  • In reply to bolla:

    Happy for KB I felt some of the criticism on him lately over the top considering his injuries. I think he’s proven that his injury plagued season is looking like an anomaly, and I think he’s hitting as well as ever (doesn’t even strikeout much these days). We need willson and KB to hit like they’re capable of, once again I also have a level of concern on the OFs offensive production. But when you have the outstanding big 4 (Bryzzo, baez, willson) that this team has it covers up flaws. Hopefully it’s a long season and some of the OFs get it going at the plate

  • Either Edwards and Doolittle both can toe tap or both cannot.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agree with your thoughts but I think Edwards actually planted his foot not toe tapped.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Totally agree. Glad Joe protested & hope we win it.

  • Strasburg was phenomenal last night and great pitching nearly always beats a team with solid hitting, but to me the big takeaway from last night and the reason it didn't upset me much is this; veterans like Jon are going to perform to the back of their baseball cards, in other words he's a 3.47 ERA, 3.60 FIP pitcher and he was performing well beyond that. He was always going to regress to the mean therefore he's going to have bad nights. That said when you really need a win there is no one would rather have on the mound. Tonight though they need this series win. I like o0ur chances against Hellickson.

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